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Terror attacks in India

By Congressman Bob Goodlatte

Once again the world witnessed devastating images of people fleeing from fire, smoke and debris, grief-stricken individuals searching for their loved ones and emergency personnel becoming the first line of defense. The recent terror attacks in Mumbai, India,  which killed more than 170 people, including six Americans, and left hundreds more injured, brought back the horrors of September 11, 2001, when Americans found themselves victims of global terrorism.

The recent terror attacks in Mumbai, the financial capital of India, threatened the sense of safety in decent people all over the world.  However, it has strengthened the commitment of free nations to defeat terrorism. The vigilance and resolve shown by Mumbai’s citizens in order to overcome extremists and defend their way of life despite these barbaric acts of violence are admirable.  Just days after the attacks, the streets of the largest city in India were again teeming with people going about their busy lives, all talking of the “Mumbai fighting spirit”.  In fact, the owner of a popular local café that was targeted by the terrorists had a message for the terrorists as he reopened his restaurant, "I want to tell the terrorists, 'Look, my shutters are up again.'”

Officials are now saying the Mumbai attacks appear to be the work of twelve extremists who traveled from Pakistan to India by boat.  Once in Mumbai, the terrorists split up targeting ten of the most well known landmarks in Mumbai, including a train station, a local hospital, and the Taj Mahal Palace hotel, all symbols of wealth in Mumbai.  Over the course of three days, the terrorists, firing AK-47 rifles and setting off explosives, took hostages at multiple locations, leaving behind blood and carnage. 

This coordinated siege of Mumbai illustrates that the war on terror will be a long struggle that challenges our military’s most experienced anti-terrorism training. It shows that terrorism is not limited to any location, population or way of life and that these people, who have so little regard for human life, must be hunted down and brought to justice no matter where they are in the world.  The perpetrators of terrorism know no boundaries--their hatred supercedes national borders, and their targets are far-reaching.

Indian investigators, along with experts from around the world including our own FBI, are working around the clock to gather evidence in an effort to bring the perpetrators of the devastating Mumbai attacks to justice.  Our sympathy goes out to the victims’ families and to the injured. Every disaster brings heartache, but with it also comes bravery and a strengthened resolve.  Ultimately, in order for us to triumph in this global war we must continue to confront the root of this evil, and sow the seeds of freedom from terror.